In the wooded hills of North Carolina, family-run Boardroom Socks carries on the area’s legacy of milling fabrics into wearable art.
“Our whole family has been in textiles forever and ever here in North Carolina,” says Boardroom Socks CEO Nathan James. “My grandfather used to bring in silk from Japan for women’s stockings before nylon was invented, and my great uncle owned a sweater mill where he would knit sweaters.”
The tradition spans seven generations and most recently landed in the hands of Nathan’s mother and father, who began running the merino wool sock company out of their family home in 2010. Back then, inventory was stored in the attic, where Nathan’s mom had to crouch down to pick and pack from thousands of pairs of American-made socks.
“I remember she used to use the 8-1/2 x 11, full sheets of label paper. Then she would use a paper cutter to cut the label out and then stick that on the package. It was okay while we were doing a relatively small number of orders,” said Nathan.
But, it should come as no surprise that the family with centuries of experience in textiles make some damn fine socks. And because of this, the number of orders didn’t remain small for long. That’s when Nathan decided to take their fulfillment out of the attic and into the future with ShippingEasy.
Weaving Tech into Tradition with ShippingEasy
Boardroom Socks needed a solution that could keep up with their thriving business and take the worry out of fulfilling eCommerce orders. After trying other shipping software and still not seeing the results he wanted, Nathan needed a sign to point him in the right direction for his company. So, like so many before him, he consulted the internet.
“We knew there had to be an easier way,” says Nathan.”So I literally went into Google and said, ‘How do I make shipping easy?’ and it said: ShippingEasy. I said, ‘Oh my gosh, too easy.’”
“Over the past seven years, ShippingEasy has saved us tens of thousands, if not even in the six figures, in shipping costs. We’re a very small business, so that’s a lot.”
And easy it has been! Boardroom Socks uses ShippingEasy to cut down on time and manpower, which is essential practice for any business, especially one that is consistently growing. Boardroom Socks loves ShippingEasy because it allows them to ship out orders up to 36 times faster than before.
“It took 10-12 minutes to print and process orders in the attic,” says Nathan. “Once we switched to ShippingEasy and implemented all of the shipping rules, it takes us less than 20 or 30 seconds to print off a label and packing slip.”
All of this time saved translates directly into money saved. By cutting down on time dedicated to shipping, while also utilizing ShippingEasy’s exclusive shipping rates, Boardroom Socks is able to run lean while growing.
“Over the past seven years, ShippingEasy has saved us tens of thousands, if not even in the six figures, in shipping costs. We’re a very small business, so that’s a lot,” said Nathan.
ShippingEasy Makes Third-Party Logistics Possible
As the owner of any business, but especially a small and family-operated one, Nathan wanted to maintain “hands-on” control of fulfillement while enjoying “hands-off” time to focus on big-picture projects. When their brand was stuck in the family attic, this hands-on aspect was all too real. Before ShippingEasy, Nathan dreamed of utilizing a Third-Partly Logistics warehouse, but knew that his company didn’t have the right systems in place to hand it off. Now, Boardroom Socks has an airtight process that translates seamlessly into a 3PL’s capable hands.
“We’re able to ship faster and more reliably. Without those rates, it just would not be cost-effective whatsoever for us.”
“ShippingEasy gave us the ability to scale and to work with a third-party logistics company to do pick, pack, and ship, because we have a process packaged up. Now we can offload that and we can focus on growing the business and managing the business instead of just running the shipping, which was all-consuming.”
Thanks to the myriad of automations and integrations ShippingEasy provides, Nathan is able to offload the time and effort of fulfilling orders while feeling completely secure that the brand’s reputation for excellent customer service is upheld. Boardroom Socks is known not only for quick turnarounds, but affordable ones as well. With ShippingEasy’s UPS One Balance program, their business has been able to save up to 76% off UPS 2nd Day Air®️ service and up to 77% off UPS®️ Ground shipments.
“A lot of customers are pleasantly surprised when they receive their order from us faster than anticipated. A large part of that is from transferring all of our UPS shipments over to the OneBalance rates through ShippingEasy. We’re able to ship faster and more reliably. Without those rates, it just would not be cost-effective whatsoever for us.”
Easy Integrations with Sales Channels
One of the most daunting parts of shifting to new software is, of course, the setup. When Nathan switched Boardroom Socks over to ShippingEasy, he was expecting the worst, as the small team already utilized several different marketplaces. Luckily, ShippingEasy has been easy to implement and run, even as Boardroom Socksd continues to expand. When he took the plunge and implemented ShippingEasy, he was pleasantly surprised by how effortlessly it optimized the pick, pack, and ship process and how seamlessly it integrated with marketplaces like Etsy and eBay, as well as third-party logistics platforms.
“We have all of our sales channels connected within ShippingEasy. We’ve got Etsy, eBay, Amazon, and then, most importantly, our Shopify store. It could not be easier to go into ShippingEasy and just click ‘add a store.’ You just connect the two and it’s up and running.”
The ease of use and efficiency that ShippingEasy provides has opened up new doors for Boardroom Socks. Since they can add new integrations without having to outsource technical support or hire more IT help in-house, the world of marketplaces is their oyster, and they don’t have to be afraid to dream big.
“It just makes the barrier to entry and the starting cost of adding a new sales channels so much less expensive due to the plug-and-play nature of ShippingEasy,” says Nathan.
Shipping Automations Cut Confusion (and Costs)
In a similar spirit of empowerment to think outside the box, Nathan cites ShippingEasy’s simple automations as a major win that allows Boardroom Socks to add or subtract items or bundles with no interruptions. With customized shipping rules in place, every order — no matter the marketplace — comes in through ShippingEasy and the 3PL warehouse workers get to work, utilizing a packing list with totals tallied up on the bottom for extra visual reinforcement. Even the special touches like customized packing slips and pick sheets are a breeze thanks to ShippingEasy’s seamless workflow.
“I think the biggest thing is setting up the shipping rules and just having the logic in place to automatically have all the orders, basically plug and play with what the packaging is, the service levels, the carriers… And that’s what’s made it really easy with our warehouse.
Expanding Internationally with Cost-Effective Shipping
While Boardroom Socks keeps everything hyper-local, that doesn’t mean their ambitions are confined to the borders of beautiful North Carolina. In fact, the brand has always had aspirations of an international presence. Unfortunately, the benefit hasn’t outweighed the cost: until now.
“Shipping internationally was so cost-prohibitive that it was not something we could do. ShippingEasy opened that door to us with those opportunities.”
Nathan discovered an integration with ShippingEasy that is taking international shipping from a pipe dream to a close reality. Once Boardroom Socks gets the APC Postal Logistics integration off the ground, the cost to ship to international will be competitive enough to justify doubling down on marketing and advertising in their top international prospect: Canada.
“Integrating with APC Postal Logistics is the next big thing on my roadmap. Shipping internationally was so cost-prohibitive that it was not something we could do. ShippingEasy opened that door to us with those opportunities.”
Growing into the Future with ShippingEasy
From out of the attic and into the global marketplace, Boardroom Socks has come such a long way with ShippingEasy by their side. Now, the company has some room to breathe in both their new manufacturing warehouse and fulfillment center.
And while Nathan has taken the reigns to usher their business into the future of ecommerce, Nathan’s parents are still very much involved in the day-to-day, generation-long tradition of building a quality, American-made textile brand.
“My dad, Mike, works a lot on the yarn and on the manufacturing side of the business. Then my mom, Carol, handles all the finances, and we always jokingly say she keeps us in line,” says Nathan. The dynamics of running a family business are always interesting!”
This family operates stronger together, a truth that was reinforced through the trials of COVID and the consequent shipping delays and shortages. Now that things are well and truly calming down, Nathan and his family are ready to begin designing, sourcing new materials, and dreaming bigger than ever before.
“ShippingEasy has saved us plenty of time and money, but I think the biggest benefit that we’ve gotten out of it is that it’s unlocked the ability to grow and focus on other areas for our business.”